tv Inside Washington PBS August 20, 2010 8:30pm-9:00pm EDT
>> what do you think of when you see a tree? a treatment for cancer? alternative fuel for our cars? do you think of hope for the environment, or food, clothing, shelter? we do. weyerhaeuser, growing ideas. >> we are not going to get all 8 million jobs that are lost back overnight. it is going to take some time. >> this week on "inside washington," unhappy economic news dogs president obama on his summer vacation. why is the republican governor of mississippi getting so much attention? after nearly 7.5 years of war, the last american combat brigade leaves iraq. what do those troops leave behind?
>> i will not comment on that the wisdom of making a decision to put a mosque there. >> the president steps into the controversy is the red seats up. >> nazis do not have our right to put a sign next to the holocaust museum. >> there was no crime spree, there was no corruption. i had been lied about and you have been lied to. captioned by the national captioning institute --www.ncicap.org-- >> as president obama took his family to martha's vineyard for their summer vacation, he took with him the news that jobless claims rose unexpectedly last week to the highest levels since last november. more bad news from the congressional budget office, that unemployment now 9.5% will not fall to 5% until 2014.
according to a new ap poll, only 41% of the american people approve of the way president obama is handling the economy. how badly will voters pub punished the president and his party in november? >> when the economy is bad, that is the only issue, and we're seeing that the the reality in 2010. the president's only hope, absent improving numbers, which we are getting late in the game, is the contest he can make between democrats and republicans and the past record. that is about it, as far as i see. >> charles? >> whenever the economy is weak, the president and a party in power will suffer. it is worse this time around because he purchased the economy, when he passed the stimulus of wanted to the presidency.
-- when it passed the stimulus in want it to the presidency. the republicans can make a strong argument that they get $1 trillion on at the stimulus and it failed. >> nina? >> americans and everybody have short memories. i am not sure that it is the stimulus that people hate as much as it is the tarp, which was the bush administration's doing more than the obama administration, but they both got into it and correctly, because we would have got off the cliff without it. but it leaves a sour taste in people's mouths, that they are in hard times and bankers are prospering. >> evan, you often say that there is not much the president can do about the economy, but he will get blamed nonetheless. >> what he can do and has failed to do -- i remember that he ran on "i am outside washington,"
but he allowed himself to get sucked into washington and the talk-show nonsense. he has gotten caught in a typical republican versus democratic party. he has got to find some way to step away from the slot and find -- swamp and find a new way to get the long-term answer, the problem that america does not want to pay for the government gets. -- for the government it gets. >> foot not for the first time, he is blaming -- not for the first time, he is blaming republicans for obstructing his blueprint to recovery. >> there will be plenty of time between now and november to play politics, but small business owners i met this week across the country this year don't have time for political games. >> he says the republicans are playing political games. does he get mileage out of that,
mark? >> not much, according to the numbers. republicans are basically not engaging him other than saying that things are bad and he is in charge. the other problem that democrats face is that when your party controls both the house and senate and the white house, the only way that a voter who is really disappointed and express his or discussed in this approval is to vote against the party that controls every but -- disgust and disapproval is to vote against the party that controls everything. >> the democrats have had control of the presidency and the house and the senate and they passed their program. the democrats had a majority and they passed the stimulus, health care, financial reform. it is not as if it is just conditions happened. we are a year and a half into the presidency and the economy is worse. >> when you pass health care and
financial reform, it takes literally at least two years before that starts kick in -- >> which produces uncertainty that is harming the president a condo -- harming the present economy as well. >> charlie cook says that 35 to 45 seats in the house could republicans. anybody want to argue with that? >> no. >> never argue with charlie cook. >> mississippi gov. haley barbour is the most powerful figure in republican politics, because he has $40 million as the republican governors association head, more money to spend on 2010 elections than any other. is he the one to watch? >> haley barbour is the en anti-obama. he is heavy, a lobbyist, a good ol' boy, does not pretend to be cerebral, a creature of
washington and mississippi. the idea of caylee barber running for national office would -- the idea that haley barbour running for national office would have been ludicrous at some time, but not now. he is allowed to raise money from corporations, which candidates cannot do. he has raised $1 million from the fair and balanced source, the news corp. of record march -- the news corp. of rupert murdoch and fox news, which is kind of a departure. >> the other reason he is so powerful now is because the republican national committee under michael steele is so weak. he is the shadow that has overcome the being that has cast a shadow. everybody is giving money to him, not to the rnc, because they figure he knows how to do a better than michael steele. >> of that white guys was a lobbyist would seem like an unlikely to -- a fat white guy who is a lobbyist would seem like an unlikely choice, but
if he can block the deal that the only way to get out of this mess -- if he can pull off the deal that the only way to get out of this mess is to raise taxes and cut spending, if he could get republicans including charles to agree to raise revenues, i would be for him. >> the country is looking for anti-charisma. it gave up charisma a shot, and it got a president that does not appear to govern well. another thing that is important, i don't think he needs arugula. >> this time there is the finality to it. we packed the trucks, we are done, we have done that handshakes come down the salutes. we are leaving. >> an army sergeant, as the last combat brigade rolled out of iraq, leaving another 50,000- plus troops and an unstable
political situation. "the new york times" reported that the state department is prepared to use civilians and a small army of contractors next year to fill the void left by the troops. have they tried anything on this scale before? >> no, and they are worried about it, because these contractors in the past have been difficult to control. but this is the world we are in. the contractors and up doing all the work. it is sort of a perfect coda for this war, which turned out better than expected but has all of these messy loose ends hanging. >> first of all, there is a contradiction here. at the same time the defense department and the defense secretary says they will cut down contractors, at state and they will build up on contractors. i wish i could be as pleased as evan is. i cannot see what enormously we
have accomplished. we got rid of saddam hussein, that is true, but we no longer have a counterbalance to iran with iraq, and we are taking troops out and adding troops in afghanistan, where we should have been originally in much larger numbers. and it is better than it was two years ago, but i am not sure what we really accomplished. >> evan talks about loose ends hanging, mark. was it worth the price, over 4000 americans killed and over seven dozen injured for life? >> -- over 7000 injured for life? >> no, i don't believe so. i go back to general tony zinni 's admonition to congress, who preferred not to even debate the issue when we rushed to war in 2002, that we would be the first western, christian, pro-israeli
invading and occupying army of a muslim holy land. saddam hussein was evil, and no doubt about it. but to dedicate united states for policy -- for a policy to remove the evil despots around the world is a different bill of goods to sign onto. but it is not just the 29 helicopters that the state department is now 10, it is not just the -- that is the department is now getting, it is not just the ambush-proof vehicles that they are getting, to be operated by private contractors. we now have to train the iraqi army to use m-1 tanks and f-16 planes to fly to protect their own air space, which they are acquiring from office. it is wonderful -- which they are acquiring from us. it is wonderful that troops are leaving, but we are deeply and
complexly involved there. >> same question, charles. >> history will decide. the comparison is to the korean war, which also ended and the duty, and we lost 10 times as many -- ended in a and a duty, and we lost 10 times as many soldiers in korea. was it worth it? it is a question that you can never answer, if you ask a member of the family of those who died or somebody was severed, the answer is now. if you ask what strategically it did for the united states, i think it helped. i want to answer one point that mark made about this being the first time a western country occupied a muslim land. when osama bin laden issued the declaration of war on the crusaders and the jews in 1998, what was the first item of grievance? it was that america was occupying the holy sites in saudi arabia as a result of the
success of the war in kuwait, where we had 50,000 american troops in what he called the land of the two shrines. the success of the good work, the kuwait war, resulted in occupation, exactly what mark is talking about analogous to come at the proximal cause of 9/11. >> we did not invade and occupy the leadership of kuwait. we drove the invading army out of kuwait. >> unfortunately, osama bin laden saw it differently, and that is why he attacked. >> this is a slap to the innocent victims who were murdered that day. >> we don't want to turn an act of hate against us by extremists into an act of intolerance for people of
religious faith. >> sarah palin, ted olson, president bush's solicitor general. his wife died in the crash on 9/11. the president stepped into this if with a speech he made to muslims, nina, then he qualified and qualified again and is now in the middle of it. >> what issue is how president obama handled the issue, which is badly. he looked like a complete wuss. and then there's the issue of the mosque itself, which makes me terribly sad, both for the lack of facts about it. it is not at ground zero. it is four blocks away. >> two blocks. >> it is an islamic center that is supposed to be multi- cultural bridgette bridges. it was originally endorsed by christians and jews in new york. now is portrayed as a terrible
slap at americans and those who died. the kind of rhetoric we hear on cable news, if you substituted the word christian or 24 muslim, there would be eight if you're -- if you substituted the word christian or jew for muslim, there would be a furor. this may not be the best place to put it, it may not be wise, but to demonize our religion because of it, it saddens me is all i can say. >> president obama always says to listen to cable-tv and all that chatter. he walked right into this. first with a speech, something that was quietly died and then by qualifying -- itqualifying -- at least don -- something that was quietly done, and then by qualifying it. having taken the position, i don't the you can back away. >> charles, you have written in
two columns about this. >> the proponents of the mosque are portraying opponents as the ones who tagged as the ground zero mosque. the imam says he specifically chose it because of its proximity. he pointed out that part of the landing gears of the airplane that muhammad atta piloted into the world trade center lighted on the roof of this structure. it is a point of attack of 9/11. it is not a creation of the opponents that it has a connection. i think the fact that there was a crime committed here by muslims -- a small minority, absolutely, who don't represent the rest of islam -- however, in the name of islam, and this is a movement all over the world
whose attacks are continuing to this day, makes it imperative on the co-religionists to think about establishing a monument to islam on that place. it could be built anywhere else and it would be welcome. i think it is a mark of a great insensitivity. >> 10 blocks away? >> it is a rancid debate that the president did enter. i do not know if he could have avoided it and i agree that you do not do the second-day "let me explain," and you do not say it to a muslim group. you say it to an interfaith group of christians and jews, and that would have been a far better. that said, the internet, radio debate, the talk radio debate on this is hateful. according to research, most american muslims are assimilated. they consider themselves americans. this is equating to often -- and
nobody has been more reckless and republican presidential candidates, including newt gingrich, who said that the president is pandering to radical islam. this is not a political payoff for barack obama to enter this issue. public opinion is on the other side. barack obama is not naive politically. he took a position, whether you argue with him or not, of principle. for newt gingrich to say this and to conflate with the jihadists did an al qaeda did and equate that with muslims is not only irresponsible, it is inflammatory. >> the polk ordered the carmelite nuns at auschwitz -- pope ordered the carmelite nuns at auschwitz to leave the convent. it is not that they were responsible for the crimes at auschwitz. it is that he understood that it
was a matter of sensitivity, and it was not a place on which the christian place of worship should be established. he understood that and he ordered it and he was not a bigot or a demagogue. he made the right decision. the analogy here is that people ought to learn from the wisdom of the pope on this issue. >> i just don't think it is an analogy -- >> explain to us why. >> if you look to the other number scott this whole debate has gotten so rancid, as mark said, that 1/3 of republicans think obama is muslim and 18% of the population overall. this is really tennessee. -- really lunacy. >> notwithstanding the fact that the government for everything but the kitchen sink at may, on every count except for one, every charge except for one, they could not provide anything wrong. >> that is former illinois gov.
rod blagojevich. he was accused of trying to sell president obama's senate seat. , rap, says the voinovich -- bum rap, says blagojevich. >> only in america. the law has the ability to take something that is relatively simple and make it so complex and complicated that 12 ordinary americans cannot understand what is going on. >> 11 of them appeared to have figured it out one way and one of them the other way. usually on these trials -- usually on a retrial, the government wins. not always, but usually. he got it on one count, and he faces up to five years for that. >> he says it is a bum rap, charles. >> fitzgerald, the prosecutor charges him with 24 charges.
he gets one count returned, which was a secondary, a process count, not any of the actual crimes this is something he said about them to the fbi. mickey mouse, and everybody understands that. this is a huge embarrassment for fitzgerald. he did that with scooter libby. he did not get him on the charge of leaking because he knew he was not the actual leaker. he got him on to the process charges. he went after conrad black and all those charges are in question. he has had a bad losing streak here. >> about half of the corrupt politicians and illinois in jail -- >> including a republican -- >> the republican governor who was his predecessor. patrick fitzgerald, the son of an apartment doorman in new york who went to amherst on
scholarship and has been a distinguished public servant. blagojevich is a reflection more than anything else of the total loss of confidence in institutions in this country. people can to expect that this is the sort of thing that goes on, and it is not. >> now let's talk baseball and roger clemens. seven-time cy young award winner, it charged with lying to congress. >> one is tempted to say that there is a similarity between these two people who cannot bear to admit that their public reputations are not -- have been sullied terribly by their private conduct. but roger clemens has not been tried. we have not seen the witnesses against him. ok, we now -- >> we saw one during the hearings. >> we know that george mitchell did not believe roger clemens, and we know that it grand jury did not believe his account.
but maybe when there is a trial, this will turn out differently. having it in the position of prejudging people for and eating my words, i think i will just cool it on this one. >> i think the real indicator is that no one in baseball police roger clemens. when you say seven-time cy young, no one has approached that. the other steroid baby is barry bonds, seven times and vp -- mvp. no one has approached that bridge when that happens, and they are so out of proportion, so out of line with the best of their contemporaries, everybody in baseball understand it is not natural ability. that is why everybody is suspicious, even though our standards of justice are high and you may not get a jury to convict. neither of them will ever get into the hall of fame.
convicted or not. everybody suspects that these guys were cheaters. >> bobby thompson died this week, he was 86. the shot heard around the world in 1951. the dodgers -- the giants be the dodgers and went into the world series. he looked like a guy who would stand next to you in an elevator. baseball went through a period of total denial. these grew up to the incredible hulks, barry bonds, to clemmons. -- roger clemens. but for the congress of the united states, henry waxman of california, democrat, tom davis of virginia, republican, who forced these hearings and these people to go on the record, we would not have ever confronted this issue, and baseball would be better off for it. but charles is right, all of them are tainted from that era
and the records they put on the books -- >> the criticism when those hearings happened, i remember, that congress should not be poking its nose into this business. >> you mentioned and bobby thomson, and we always think about the good old days when athletes as i recall, the giants in 1951 were cheating, too. i believe they had a guy in center field who is signaling to bobby thomson that he was getting a hanging curve or something -- >> i thought that was legitimate -- >> no, not stealing signs. we and mythologize the good old days -- >> if you are stealing second base and you signal the catcher and you are up at bat, the next time you are up at bat, it will hit you in the hand. >> i not think the two charges are at all comparable.
for one thing, you are changing the entire physical composition of people. barry bonds' head size and lodged by a full size. -- enlarged by a full size. >> i am not defending steroids, i am just -- >> the other lesson is listen to a good lawyer and don't talk if you cannot tell the truth. >> tom hanks said in "a league of their own" that there is no crying in baseball. last word. see you next week. for a transcript of this broadcast, log on to insidewashington.tv. vo:geico, committed to providing service to